Sep 30, 2022
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On Saturday, it was announced at Marvel’s D23 Expo that the fourth “Captain America” movie, titled “New World Order,” is expected to hit theaters on May 3, 2024, and will include the character Sabra, played by Israeli actress Shira Haas. This will be the first time that an Israeli superhero will appear in a Hollywood movie. 

The character first appeared in Marvel comics in 1980. Her powers include super strength and stamina, and her costume often incorporates the Israel flag and the Star of David. Sabra (real name is Ruth Bat-Seraph)was born near Jerusalem and was raised on a special kibbutz run by the Israeli government along with her family; after her mutant power manifested, Ruth was the first superhuman agent created to serve the Mossad (the Israeli Secret Service). As a cover, she was also a policewoman in the Israeli Police forces of Tel Aviv.  

Sabra’s mutant power has enhanced all of her body’s physical abilities, such as strength, speed, agility, reflexes, endurance, and stamina, to superhuman levels. She can withstand impacts up to high caliber rifle fire, though she has been wounded by fire from an MP-40 sub-machine gun. She can also charge other individuals by transferring her own life energy to them and, in the process, enhance their physical state of health. She wears a cape that contains a secret Israeli gravity-polarization device, which allows her to neutralize gravity’s effect on her mass, and a tight array of four electric micro-turbines which impel air for sufficient thrust for inertia-less mass to fly at subsonic speeds. In addition to her superhuman abilities and equipment, Sabra possesses the standard weapons and armed and unarmed-combat training given to members of the Israeli military. She is trained in police methods and skills and in anti-terrorist techniques.

Shira Haas promoting The Zookeeper’s Wife at the Warsaw Zoo in 2017

Sabra occasionally works with other Marvel characters like the Hulk and the X-Men. In her first comic book appearance, she fought against the Hulk because she mistakenly thought he was working with Arab terrorists operating in Israel. As Hulk left with the body of a young Arab killed by the terrorists, Sabra chased him. At the end of their encounter, she was devastated by Hulk’s speech about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the death of the Arab.

In a later comic, she joined forces with Abdul Qamar, a Bedouin superhero known as Arabian Knights, although rivalry between their respective countries made this alliance difficult. She also battled an anti-Israel group called Israelis for Anarchy when they held the son of the US ambassador hostage on a kibbutz. 

Some years later, Sabra’s young son was killed in a terrorist attack. She disobeyed orders in order to bring her son’s killers to justice.

The character was created by writer Bill Mantlo and artist Sal Buscema,

A sabra or tzabar is a modern Hebrew term that refers to a Jew born in Israel. The term alludes to a tenacious, thorny desert plant, known in English as prickly pear, with a thick skin that conceals a sweet, softer interior. The cactus is compared to Israeli Jews, who are supposedly tough on the outside but delicate and sweet on the inside.

 Haas gained international fame through her starring role in the hit Netflix series “Unorthodox.”